Win More Races, Strength Training, Build Phase Science and More – Ask a Cycling a Coach 190


Who is riding the front?


Hopefully Nate so Chad can get a good draft. :rofl::man_facepalming:t2:


Same here (except for CX). I race 15-20 times per season, early Sept through mid December. I think the specialty phase would be overkill during that period.


@Nate, do you and the guys still use the riprow? Do you have any thoughts on that as a primary strength training tool? I work from home and getting to the gym to swim is tough enough, no way I can tack 30-60 minutes on to those trips to hit the weights.


I use it occasionally, and I will use it more as my MTB races come up. Although it does build strength, I don’t think it replaces actual gym workout. It’s hard to get sets in the 3-5 rep range on it…near impossible.


Get some weights (dumb bells and/or kettlebells) and a pull-up bar for your home. No need to do the drive to the gym. Do your strength training at home.


Thanks @DaveWh, that’s exactly what I’m wanting to do. By any chance do you have a good link to a list of equipment and routines/exercises? I’d like to spend a bit of money (up to about several hundred dollars) for a few good pieces of equipment and have one or more circuits/routines that I can do during the week. I don’t want to just go and buy kettle bells and then blindly throw them around, I’m not experienced enough to know the right exercises for my cycling/triathlon goals.


No download option on latest podcast on sound cloud.


No, @Jonathan, see above.


The only equipment I think you need are kettlebells, dumbbells, a pull up bar, and a mat for core exercises. Doesn’t cost much. I wouldn’t buy any machines, as they’re not needed. If you want to get into heavy squats, then a squat rack, or heavy upper body, then a bench + rack. But for cycling I don’t think that’s needed.
I’ll see if I can dig up some good exercise routines online and post them here. I’ve been lifting weights for 30 years, so I have a pretty big library of exercises and routines in my head, and just do a set of exercises that is pretty balanced across muscle groups.


Any chance @chad could give a rundown on his bike workout warmup routine?


I found the strength training discussion very interesting. I have been lifting weights for many years for overall body health in addition to hopefully helping me cycling fitness (or at least not hurting it). I used to use a 1 set, 5-8 (or was it 8-10?) reps to failure protocol, then switched to 3 sets. For the last several years, I’ve gone to a lighter weight, 20 reps, 6 sets on the leg press anyway (no more squats for me-- at 61, I want to avoid injury over anything else!). As I gain strength, I increase the weight and reduce the volume until I am at 10-15 reps for 3 sets.

Based on the podcast and the linked material, maybe I should go back to just doing 1 set of 5-8 reps until failure? However, based on this study – – lifting lighter weights with more reps might be just as effective for building strength, with less chance for injury? (On the other hand, it would be a heckuva lot quicker to do 1 set of fewer reps!)


For those that can do one arm push ups, here is the next goal…


Hey guys,

Loved the weightlifting talk, but I, personally, couldn’t take it all in so quickly. Could I get a quick breakdown on what kind of reps you do for muscle endurance? My takeaway was that reps in the 8-10 range built bulk, but the same strength, while low reps built the strength without the bulk. This seemed counter-intuitive to me, but just want to make sure I heard this correctly.

Are there some written resources for the brain dump you guys laid out? I’m going to give it a quick listen again to try and absorb more of Chad’s knowledge.



You don’t build endurance in the gym. There is a recent study that a small amount of maximal reps will effectively build strength in moderately trained individuals. If you want to bulk more reps is more better, still needs to be fairly heavy, enough that you’re ‘done’ at the end of the last set.


I guess. The question then is how do I build my upper body without adding bulk and just increasing strength. With increased strength can I endure longer rides before the neck/shoulder/back pain starts to kick in?

I’m not looking to train my legs in the gym so much. Mostly just upper body for balance.


5-6 reps of a compound movement targeting the muscle group that you want at a near maximal effort 2-3 times per week. And hang out in the drops looking forward on the trainer. If you want to be more comfortable in a position on the bike… spend more time in that position on the bike.


I believe 15-20 is the range for that. Personally I like to get some base strength (1-5 reps) then just spend time on the bike to get my endurance up.


@Nate I’ve listened to this twice now…I don’t remember hearing anything about sets?
Soooo, if I want to build strength and do 1-5 reps I got that but how many sets?




That’s the great debate in weight lifting, but at our “cyclists” level one to two sets is enough for the type of strength we’re looking for.

I do two sets.